Northern Ireland peer Lord Kilclooney told to apologise for 'offensive' Kamala Harris tweet

Northern Ireland peer Lord Kilclooney told to apologise for 'offensive' Kamala Harris tweet

LORD KILCLOONEY has been told to apologise for a 'racist and offensive' Tweet regarding the US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

John Taylor, a former Ulster Unionist Party member and a life peer in the House of Lords, yesterday posted a Tweet referring to Joe Biden by name and Kamala Harris as 'the Indian'.

He wrote: "What happens if Biden moves on and the Indian becomes President. Who then becomes Vice President?"

The peer was subject to widespread condemnation for the comments, but at first refused to back down, claiming he had "never heard of her" and did not know her name when he wrote the post.

"India is quite rightly celebrating that an Indian, who has USA citizenship, has been appointed Vice President elect," he added, despite it being explained that Ms Harris was born in America and thus is an American, not an expat with citizenship.

Harris made history by becoming the first person of colour and first woman to be voted Vice President of the United States (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

The Lord Speaker then ordered Lord Kilclooney to "retract and apologise", stating "this is an offensive way to refer to anyone, let alone a woman who has just made history".

"The comment is entirely unacceptable and has no place in British politics. I could not be clearer."

Following the request for a retraction and apology, John Taylor wrote:

"Whilst Biden is proud to be Irish and Harris is rightly proud of her Indian background I certainly withdraw my reference to her as an Indian as it seems to have upset some people.

"I did not know her name and identified her with the term Indian. Most people understood. Racist NO."

Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster, condemned both the original tweets and the attempt at an apology, saying Northern Ireland should be "a place where everyone feels at home".

"Identifying a person by their race is offensive. Self awareness is a great thing!"

She continued: "Lord Kilclooney should know manners maketh man. We have suffered from stereotyping and insensitive words here.

"A real apology to Vice President Elect Harris is due. His words have been heard around the world. It harms Northern Ireland and our work to build a better future."

Lord Kilclooney has come under fire in the past for the use of racial stereotypes and offensive phrases-- in 2018, he attracted similar criticism after tweeting “typical Indian” in regards to then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, whose father is from India.

Again, at the time he denied any suggestion of wrongdoing, insisting he was "certainly no racist" and that he actually has "an admiration for Indians".